Types of Entry-Level Jobs for Computer Science Majors

If you’re a computer science major who is interested in pursuing a tech-based career, you might be wondering about the best options for entry-level jobs. Depending on your interests and familiarity with the various industry verticals, there are many options to choose from and each one involves a combination of challenging and exciting projects.

Here are the various roles you can pursue to kickstart your career.

Front-End Engineer

Front-End engineers make the interfaces we all love and use daily. If you like to see immediate, “tangible” results from your code and have a flair for design, then being a front-end engineer may be the role for you. As a front-end engineer, you’ll typically be working on the very front of the page. In a nutshell, you’ll be taking mockups given to you by the designer and turning them into web pages; implementing designs, prototyping and writing code that translates directly into what users see on the screen. The code you’ll be writing for this job is almost exclusively HTML/CSS and JavaScript, and it requires a strong ability to write cleanly in order to ensure long-term maintainability and future fast iterating. Deep knowledge of CSS and other front-end frameworks such as jQuery are a must.

Back-End Engineer

If you enjoy learning how to optimize read times on large data sets, crafting large data structures like an architect would a building, or making sure that your app has the best search function around, you may have a calling in back-end development. Back-end engineers are most concerned with what goes on behind the scenes — the business logic, data storage and retrieval, and key features that happen on the server. Knowing your SQL commands and relationships, familiarity with appropriate back-end languages such as Java, C++, Ruby, Python or JavaScript, knowledge of systems architecture and understanding of the hurdles of building applications at scale are helpful for this role.

Full-Stack Engineer

Being a full-stack engineer involves working with a combination of both front-end and back-end technologies, and it’s the perfect role for someone who likes building complete products or features. In addition to being able to develop back-end processes to connect servers and databases, you’ll also be working on the user-facing application to ensure that the product delivers seamless experience from end to end. However, it’s important to note that given the scope of this position, many full-stack engineers are “jacks of all trades but masters of none,” so it’s worth considering whether you want to be an expert in a particular discipline or whether you’re more comfortable when you’re constantly learning new things.

Mobile Engineer

Due to the rising use of apps, mobile engineers are in great demand right now. And since pretty much everyone uses either an iPhone or Android device these days, being familiar with their respective development platforms is a great way to secure your spot for this role.
The best way to show that you have what it takes is by being able to show off some apps that you’ve built on your own. If you already know Java, Android may be the best place for you to start, but if you prefer the iOS ecosystem, you’ll need to start learning Swift and XCode.

DevOps Engineer

The role of a DevOps engineer often differs from company to company, but at its core, DevOps engineers are responsible for the system infrastructure and “keeping the lights on.” If you’re fascinated by networking, intrigued by how the various tools and languages your team uses work and love setting up new servers, DevOps may be for you. The DevOps movement expands on the traditional responsibilities of system administrators to bring as much automation to the job as possible, so DevOps engineers are actually a hybrid of programmers and sysadmins.

Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

Building scalable software requires that many levels of quality be considered. The first component is that the software must work, but it also must be written according to best practices and in a fashion that will not break other components of the program being developed. As a QA Engineer, you’ll be writing tests and testing suites while also running tests. Familiarity with software best practices and writing comprehensive tests that cover all edge cases will help you land your first QA job.

Product Manager

An increasingly popular role for computer science majors, being a product manager involves identifying opportunities for new products and working with an engineering team to design and execute them. As a product manager, you’ll be responsible for creating a roadmap of the product as well as market testing the product and launching it. This is a great role for someone who is interested in working on the strategy side of product development and someone who is passionate about the user experience.

Being a computer science major opens up a lot of exciting doors and offers you the opportunity to continue building your skill set as a programmer and beyond. The best way to figure out which opportunity is best for you is by pursuing an internship and figuring out which career path most closely aligns with your interests.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What Is a Computer Science Major and Is It Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as 5 Technology Trends You Need to Know to Work in Any Industry.

* This article was written in partnership with the team at Outco.

Types of Internships for Math Majors

How does being great with numbers and complex equations translate into in the real world? If you’re a math major, you’re probably asking yourself that question right now. The great news is that there are plenty of career opportunities for math majors in a broad range of fields including data science and accounting. The key to finding out which career path is best for you is to take on one or more internships while completing your degree.

Here are some of the most common internships for math majors:

Data science intern

A data science internship will give you first-hand experience with making data useful. You’ll learn how to clean large amounts of data and run relevant analyses by blending together applied mathematics with computer science, statistics, machine learning and other disciplines relevant to the problem at hand. You’ll also learn how to interpret these results in order to gain insights into a specific issue, identify emerging trends or even create a data-driven product.

Risk modeling intern

An internship as a credit risk modeler at a bank or financial firm can give you the opportunity to apply your math skills to the fields of banking and finance. As a credit risk modeler, you’ll assist in developing and measuring the validity of credit risk models which help the bank manage risk and measure different components of its performance. You’ll also receive training in the framework of existing credit risk models.

Quantitative research analyst intern

An internship as a quantitative research analyst will familiarize you with statistical methods and techniques used in making sense of data. From analyzing large, complex data sets to developing and testing statistical models, you’ll use your skills to interpret data and turn it into reports that can be used when making key business decisions. Because of the broad scope of this role, this internship can be found in any number of industries from healthcare to hospitality.

Financial analyst intern

A financial analyst internship is a great opportunity to learn about the process of collecting and analyzing financial information and making recommendations based on that information. This includes everything from internal and external data collection and analysis to data budgeting and forecasting. By interning as a financial analyst, you’ll be getting exposure to a broad range of duties and a hands-on feel for the world of finance.

Accounting intern

If you’re looking to branch out into accounting, an accounting internship will give you exposure to a wide range of responsibilities in the field. During your internship, you’ll be assisting with everything from preparing month end financial reports and bank statement reconciliations to crediting checks and contributing to the team’s yearly forecasting efforts.

Investment banking intern

An investment banking summer analyst position will give you a great sense of what it’s like to be a full-time analyst. Throughout your internship, you’ll be getting exposure to various aspects of investment banking including client pitches and deals such as mergers and acquisitions. Although you’ll mostly be working on behind-the-scenes projects such as analyzing financial statements and putting together presentations, you’ll also be building valuable skills that you can use in a full-time analyst role.

Business intelligence intern

As a business intelligence intern, you’ll assist the business intelligence team with their current projects such as analyzing competitor data and market trends for a specific industry. You’ll also obtain an overview of key operations within the company, support data management efforts and assist clients both within and outside the organization. Along the way, you’ll learn how to improve the organization’s decision-making outcomes and performance.

Internships relevant to math majors will tap into your problem-solving skills in more ways than one and offer you exciting opportunities for learning and skill building. By taking on an internship during your undergraduate career, you’ll learn more about the career opportunities available to you after graduation and figure out what role is right for you.

Next, learn more about this college major such as What is a Math Major and is it Right for Me? and get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look for In An Internship.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Job Guide

“Entry-Level Software Engineer” is a broad term. It’s often one used by larger employers to recruit computer science majors and other student seeking software development positions. During the interview process many of these employers will ask candidates to think about what specialization they’d like to focus on (e.g. front-end, back-end, etc.). These engineers spend most of their day writing code to make products and services function. The vast majority of employed entry-level software engineers work for large technology companies or startups.

Entry-Level Software Engineer Job Guide

Specialization under the software engineering is particularly common in an entry-level role. Most teams are composed of several specializations of engineers. Here are the most common types of software engineering roles:

  1. Back-end engineers spend much of their time writing services, algorithms, and architecting the core bits and pieces of a system and the way it works.
  2. Front-end engineers make the services that the back-end engineers are writing accessible to the end user through a UI. It’s not uncommon for front-end engineers to have some experience with UI design or partner often with a designer at the company.
  3. Operations engineers are responsible for ensuring the infrastructure that supports a product or service is reliable and stays up and running. Another primary responsibility is ensuring a system’s scalability.
  4. QA or test engineers are responsible for building systems that test the code that the other engineers are writing to ensure it’s stable and reliable.
  5. Full-stack engineers do everything (back-end, front-end, operations, testing). These are less common as entry-level roles unless they work at a small startup.

Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level software engineers

The tasks that software engineers perform vary greatly depending on their specialization. Here are a few examples of what they do:

  1. Building an RESTFUL API for consumption by another team at the company or a 3rd party. (Back-end)
  2. Constructing an interface in HTML, CSS, and Javascript that accesses the API and allows users to perform tasks. (Front-end)
  3. Spinning up infrastructure to support a new mobile app that the company is building, paying careful attention to how it might scale if the app takes off ala Pokemon Go.
  4. Writing tests that automatically ensure that the new app remains reliable and can handle a large load of traffic.

Types of Entry-Level software engineer Jobs

As you know by now, specialization is important. However, when searching for entry-level jobs, it’s even more important to become familiar with all of the different verbiage that an employer might use to describe their position. If you know what terms to search by, you’ll be far more likely to be able to find all of the available positions and narrow them down to the ones you’re most interested in.

Another great search strategy is to use software languages as keywords. Employers are often working on a Java or C stack and need engineers that can work in those languages.

Here are a few search terms you could use to search for entry-level software engineering postions:

Salary Expectations

The median salary for entry-level software engineers is $75,275.

The range is $54,084 – $110,908.

The higher end of this range is quite high and is often skewed significantly by the larger tech companies (Google, Facebook, etc.) and the competitiveness for their entry-level positions. They’ve been known to give $500,000 signing bonuses to the best recent grads. Crazy!

Location is one the largest factors in calculating salary, so it’s particularly helpful to consider the entire salary range.

The Bureau of Labor expects the number of software engineer jobs to grow by 17% over the next 10 years. That’s incredible growth. It’s no secret that software development is one of the most promising career choices.

Who Typically Gets These Jobs

Every year, we survey over 20,000 students and recent grads in an effort to understand the internship and entry-level job market. Based on the results of our State of Hiring report, the students or recent graduates that apply to these entry-level jobs have several things in common:

  • While many students are willing to look at jobs unrelated to their major, computer science majors are not. 72% of them only want to consider software development jobs.
  • San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle are the most popular destination for computer science grads.
  • Surprisingly enough, 75% of graduating computer science majors have worked a paid side job. Employers see this as a major benefit, as one of their primary concerns with engineers is how they will fair in a post-college work environment.
  • Only 28% of graduating seniors majoring in software engineer have no internship experience.
  • Most computer science students will not have any student debt when they graduate.
  • Almost 56% of seniors majoring in computer science have taken an online course related to their major.

Related Entry-Level Fields

Despite it being somewhat rare that software engineer majors seek jobs outside of their immediate major, it does happen. When they do go outside, here are the areas they’re most likely to look at:

  1. Electrical Engineering
  2. UX Design
  3. Product Management
  4. UI Design
  5. Analyst

Additional Resources

  1. It never hurts to brush up on a few software engineer topics. You can take a few online courses to get back in the swing of things.
  2. For more salary information, head over to Payscale.
  3. For more advice on starting your entry-level job search, check out our guide!
  4. And finally, to prepare for an entry-level job interview, prepare for the top 20 entry-level job interview questions.

Search for Entry-Level Software Engineering Jobs Now

Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.